A Project of the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment
University of Notre Dame, Department of Special Collections
by Louis Jordan

Images Coordinated by
James C. Spilman and the Colonial Newsletter Foundation

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FAQ: The Continental "Dollar"

Concerning the large pewter (or silver) coin often called a Continental dollar. An introduction to that coin is available on our web site at:


These coins are quite rare. Originals are valued at between $1,000 (in poorer condition) to about $15,000 is excellent condition. However, many reproductions and replicas have been made over the years for collectors; these reproductions have little or no market value. Some are sold for $1.00 as souvenirs at colonial sites as in Williamsburg, VA. The replicas have exactly the same markings as the originals but they are of a different metal (usually tin or lead) and have a different weight. Several, but not all replicas, are slightly smaller in diameter than the originals.

If you would like to determine if your coin is a rare original you should contact the American Numismatic Association. They provide an authentication service. Their site is located on the web at:


At that site they state: "Items submitted for authentication are carefully examined and photographed; those determined to be genuine receive a black-and-white photo certificate of authenticity. AuthenticationPlus Service also can provide additional data, including, but not limited to: rarity, value, weight, diameter, specific gravity, variety, surface characteristics, reflectivity, originality, type of counterfeit, reed count, and recommended references for further research." Unfortunately the cost of this service is not listed, one must contact them at the following address for further information.

ANA Collector Services
818 North Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-3279

Telephone: 800/467-5725Fax: 719/634-4085

A company providing a grading service is the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). They will attribute and grade colonial coins. Their services and prices are listed on the web at:


I should caution you I have 2-3 requests per week from individuals who think they have original "Continental Dollars." Statistically, based on the rarity of original examples and the large quantity of replicas, it is probable your coin may be a copy. Varieties with both the correct spelling (Currency) and the misspellings (Curency and Currencey) have been extensively copied. In either event if you wish to preserve your item, place it in an inert plastic coin holder and keep it out of direct sunlight or excessive heat. Most coin stores will have some coin holders available. One of the better brands is Saflip which is made of Polyethylene Terepthalate available from E and T Kointainer, Box 103, Sidney, OH 45365. A pack of 50 is under $5.00.

On this coin, for prices see the latest edition of R. S, Yeoman, A Guide Book of United States Coins (52st ed. 1999, p. 33) this is often called the Red Book because of the color of the cover: For more detailed discussions see: Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of US and Colonial Coins, pp. 110-112; Hodder, Michael. The Continental Currency Coinage of 1776, in The American Numismatic Association Centennial Anthology, Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merana, 1991, pp. 7-18; and Newman, Eric. The 1776 Continental Currency Coinage, in The Coin Collector's Journal, July-August (1952) 1-9.